William Kunstler on Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

William Kunstler and Rap Brown, 1968

Brief excerpts from “My Life as a Radical Lawyer” by William Kunstler.  This book was published in 1994.  William Kunstler returned to the Creator in 1995.  Imam Jamil Al-Amin was continuously harassed by COINTELPRO style policies until he was arrested and wrongly convicted for the killing of a police officer in 2000.  Imam Jamil is now 64 years old and is currently being held at the SuperMax Prison in Florence, Co.  (State side Gitmo).  See this link for current info on the conditions under which the Imam is being held and how to contribute to the International Committee to Support Jamil Al-Amin. 

Update on Imam Jamil Al-Amin

“During 1966 and 1967, I met two men who would always be important in my life, Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown.  Both quickly fell victim to the government’s methodical destruction of dissent through borderline lawful, though unjust, means –repeated arrests, prolonged court battles, never-ending legal entanglements.  These tactics deprived both Stokely and Rap of significant time and energy.  Each man handled the harassment differently; Stokely eventually left the country, while Rap fought it out for years, then quietly retreated to a different way of life…..”

“In Nashville, before Stokely left SNCC, he introduced me to his successor, Hubert Gerold “Rap” Brown, a tall, gangly, fellow.  “People will be happy to have me back when they hear him speak,” Stokely said.  Rap was only twenty-three when he took over the leadership of SNCC and was soon well on his way to becoming one of the most hated and feared men  in America.  His speeches reflected his rage at the treatment of African-Americans, and he threatened nothing less than a civil war to achieve freedom for his brothers and sisters.  “If America don’t come around, we going to burn it down,” he thundered, and white America shook.  He was very much influenced by Malcolm X.

      “Rap’s most famous statement is often quoted “Violence is necessary.  It is as American as cherry pie.”……

      “Rap served three years in prison, 1973-76, for the New York conviction and during that time he became a Sunni Muslim and changed his name to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.  His health was bad due to the after-effects of the gunshot wound, but after a number of operations, he was eventually strong enough to play on the Greenhaven Correctional Facility football team…. 

       ” One of my happiest memories was Rap’s wedding to Lynne Doswell, now known as Karima, at my house in Westchester.  A Unitarian minister from the White Plains Community Church conducted a beautiful ceremony inside the house while, outside, New York City cops patrolled the block in the old green-and-whites.  Murphy Bell, a Baton Rouge lawyer and my cocounsel in the Lousiana gun case, brought a wedding cake baked by Rap’s mother.  It was slightly lopsided from being on a plane but nevertheless was as beautiful as the wedding and quite edible. 

      “Today Jamil and Karima, who is now a law school graduate, have two boys and live in Atlanta, where Jamil runs a grocery store in the Muslim community.  Every time I’m in Atlanta, I visit with him and eat pickles; he’s got the best kosher dills I have ever tasted. 

      “Rap, once six and a half feet of burning rage–“If you give me a gun, I just might shoot Lady Bird” — is now the imam, or spiritual leader, of his community.  He is working to raise funds for construction of a mosque, and knowing Rap and his religious fervor, this mosque will surely be built. 

        “Throughout the late 1960s and the 1970s, Rap and I spent so much time together and grew so tight that he is my closest friend from those days.  There is probably no one I love more among men than H. Rap Brown; with him,  I broke my old childhood pattern of remaining a bit of a loner and not forming intimate friendships.  I think he shares my feeling, because he never fails to call me when he’s in New York, even if he has nothing much to say except “How’s the family?”

       “Rap and I were in Memphis a couple of years ago for the dedication of the National Civil Rights Museum at the site of the old Lorraine Motor Inn where Martin was assassinated.  The occasion provided an emotional reunion for many of us, black and white, who had participated in the movement.  When I got up on the podium to introduce Rap, I tried to speak, but I totally broke down and could not continue.  He stoop up, put an arm around me, and led me back to my seat.  “I’m a sentimental fool,” I whispered. 

      “He whispered back, “No, you’re an old friend.””

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2 Responses to “William Kunstler on Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)”

  1. bjkeefe Says:

    Hey, Abu Noor!

    Glad to see you’ve (finally) started your blog. I wish you a bountiful creative muse and I look forward to interesting discussions.

  2. rap Says:

    no bad…

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